Money tree (Pachira aquatica) is a popular houseplant due to its fast growth and attractive appearance. Plus, it’s rumored to bring its owner wealth and prosperity! In this post, I’ll show you how to grow money tree indoors, so you can enjoy it for yourself.
According to folklore, money tree is a lucky plant that emits positive energy that attracts good fortune and increases luck. But even if you don’t believe in folklore, you can’t deny the elegance this plant adds to any indoor space.
Is Money Tree Easy to Grow?
Money tree is not the easiest houseplant to grow. But if you meet its humidity and moisture needs, you’ll have a gorgeous indoor tree that may even bring some good luck. I place this plant in the “moderate difficulty” category since it is tolerant of a little neglect.
Here’s a brief rundown of how to grow money tree:
- TEMPERATURE: 65 – 70 degrees F (18 – 21 degrees C)
- LIGHT: Bright, indirect
- HUMIDITY: High
- WATER: Keep soil moist spring – summer
- FEEDING: Twice a month with 1/2 strength fertilizer spring – summer
- SAFETY: Non-toxic to cats and dogs
- DIFFICULTY: Moderate
Keep reading for more in-depth instructions on how to grow money tree, including potting and soil recommendations, propagation, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
Appearance & Mature Height
Money tree is raised by braiding three or four young stems together. This gives the plant a fuller, more tree-like appearance. If it were sold as only a single stem, it would appear quite sparse with just three or four groups of leaves.
Each leaf consists of 6-9 lance-shaped leaflets arranged like spokes around the leaf stalk. Leaves radiate from the top of thick, woody stems. Lower leaves always drop off as new ones come in, and the plant grows quickly to its mature height.
Money trees live for many years, and reach heights of around 6 feet (1.8 meters) indoors. In the wild, they can reach up to 60 feet (18 meters), but these huge outdoor trees look very little like our smaller indoor versions.
How Often Do You Water a Money Tree?
For the best results, water money tree enough to keep the soil moist at all times. In my experience, this is usually about every other day (depending on the environment in your home). If you live in a very dry climate, you may need to water more often.
During the spring and summer, while the plant is actively growing, keep the soil moist (but never wet) to promote fast growth and keep the plant happy. In the winter, you can get away with watering less, but try to keep soil moderately moist.
Although money tree can tolerate dry soil for a short period, don’t let it dry out completely. The plant needs consistently moist soil for fast growth. Understanding moisture needs is the most important part of understanding how to grow money tree.
Native to wet river banks in Central and South America, money tree needs high humidity to thrive. Mist several times daily with a spray bottle set to the “mist” setting, place a high quality houseplant humidifier in the room, and place small plants on a humidity tray.
You’ll need to pull out all the stops to give this plant as much humidity as possible. Another good practice is to place it near other plants with similar moisture needs so they can share humidity. If necessary, place open cups or bowls of water around the plant.
Feeding Your Money Tree
One thing many new growers neglect when learning how to grow money tree is feeding. Pachira aquatica is not a heavy feeder, so it doesn’t require much – but it does benefit from the occasional feeding with a good quality fertilizer.
Feed your money tree twice a month during spring and summer with a water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. It’s very important to dilute the fertilizer so you don’t over-feed the plant. Do not feed in fall and winter at all.
Use any balanced houseplant fertilizer you like, as long as it’s formulated for foliage plants. I recommend this fertilizer that’s made specifically for money tree. It contains all the nutrients your plant needs to thrive.
How Much Sun Does a Money Tree Need?
Money tree needs plenty of bright, indirect light to grow thick and full. It can tolerate low light conditions, but growth will be sparse. An east- or west-facing window is the ideal growing location for this plant.
If you like, place your money tree outside in a brightly lit area (but not in direct sun) during the summer months. Always keep out of direct sunlight for long periods to avoid scorching the plant’s semi-delicate leaves. It can only tolerate an hour or two of direct sun each day.
Rotate your money tree regularly to keep it growing straight and even. If you don’t rotate, it may start to bend towards the light source and look unsightly.
Average room temperatures of 65 – 70 degrees F (18 – 21 degrees C) are fine for money tree. Just make sure to never let the temperature drop below 59 degrees F (15 degrees C). As a tropical plant, money tree doesn’t like the cold.
The plant tolerates cooler temperatures in winter, but may not recover if it gets too cold.
Potting & Soil
Money trees can grow in very small pots relative to their size, but they tend to become top-heavy. You might want to re-pot your plant as it grows larger. Re-pot every two years as needed, in spring. Move to a pot that’s 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the current container.
I recommend using a high quality potting mix formulated for cacti and succulents. Money trees need well-draining soil similar to that found in their natural habitat.
Since Amazon stopped carrying my favorite succulent soil, I’ve since switched to the Superfly Bonsai Brand. So far, it’s been a success! But you can use your favorite potting mix for money tree, as long as it is well-draining.
Money Tree Propagation
Once you learn how to grow money tree, you might want to add more plants to your collection. The best way to propagate money tree is via cuttings. Here’s what to do:
- Take a 6-inch (15 cm) stem cutting that includes several leaf nodes.
- Clip off the leaves on the lower third of the cutting.
- Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder.
- Plant, cut-side down, in moist seed-starting mix in a small pot.
- Place in indirect light, and mist several times a day with lukewarm water until signs of rooting/growth are observed (which can take 4 – 8 weeks).
- Plant the cutting in potting soil and begin normal plant care once you see signs of new growth.
Congratulations! You’re now the proud parent of a second money tree!
Maintaining your Money Tree
Money tree is quite easy to maintain. You can prune it to any height you want if you have patience.
To start, cut one or two of the stems back to where the braid ends. After a few months, you’ll see new growth emerging from these cuts. Once a few new leaves grow in on the new stems, prune back the remaining taller stems.
You may need to clean the plant’s leaves occasionally to remove dirt and debris. As a moisture-loving plant, money tree also benefits from a warm shower once a month or so. I place my plant in the bathtub and use the shower head to spray it down.
Money Tree Plant Problems
Here are some common problems indoor gardeners often have when learning how to grow money tree (and how to fix them):
- Leaves Dropping or Sparse Growth – This is often due to too little sunlight. Move your money tree to a sunnier location, such as an east- or west-facing window. If you don’t have a bright place to put it, supplement with artificial indoor light 6-8 hours a day.
- Plant Falling Over – If your money tree is falling over, it’s probably because the pot is too small and your plant has grown too large. The only solution is to re-pot in a larger container. Fill the bottom of the pot with pebbles before adding soil to add weight.
- Slow or No Growth – If your money tree is not growing (or only growing very slowly), it probably isn’t getting enough moisture. Increase watering, keeping soil slightly moist at all times. You may also need to increase humidity near the plant by misting or using a humidifier.
How to Grow Money Tree Successfully
If you’re looking for how to grow money tree successfully, I hope this post has helped! As I said before, it’s not an easy plant to grow. I’ve seen many articles online and beginner houseplant books describe it as an easy-to-grow plant, but I disagree.
It requires high moisture and humidity, which can be difficult to achieve – especially if you live in a very dry area. This is not a set it and forget it type of plant. But if you have the time and inclination to care for your money tree, it can thrive in any home.
Here is the final consensus on how to grow money tree:
- Keep soil moist at all times.
- Maintain high humidity by misting or using a good houseplant humidifier.
- Provide plenty of bright, indirect light.
- Never let temperatures drop below 59 degrees C (15 degrees C).
- Feed with a diluted liquid fertilizer during spring and summer.
- Re-pot in spring as needed in a well-draining soil formulated for cacti and succulents.
If you follow these steps, your money tree will thrive for years under your care. I know, it’s easier said than done. But I believe in you!
Where to Buy Money Tree
Money tree is a popular houseplant, and you can often find it for sale in local nurseries and garden centers. If you live in a dry climate, it might be more difficult to find.
When I can’t find a plant I’m dying to grow locally, I prefer to buy my houseplants on Etsy. I like supporting small growers, and I find they often have superior quality and better customer service than large online nurseries.
Click here to see the current listings for Money Tree on Etsy. Happy plant shopping! (Oh, and I recommend buying a plant with the trunk already braided to save you some trouble!)